Preston Cosslet Kemeny, 2015, Geosciences

This summer I spent ten weeks with the Princeton EcoHydrology Lab in Kenya researching the degree of isotopic equilibration between atmospheric water vapor and rainfall. This research, which relates to parameters used in climatological modeling, was part of an ongoing effort by the EcoHydrology Lab to understand land degradation in dryland ecosystems. By collecting high temporal resolution rainwater samples during rain events while continuously measuring the isotopic composition of atmospheric water vapor and several meteorological variables, I analyzed whether the isotopes present in atmospheric water vapor and rainfall equilibrate over the course of a storm. In addition to this experiment, I led a large stable isotope sampling project examining the effects of various tree-thinning procedures on plots adjacent to the Kenya Long-term Exclosure Experiment, and another data collection project focusing on the consistency of soil water vapor isotopic measurements among three distinct sampling methods. Through this internship I developed a strong foundation in stable isotope analysis techniques and advanced MatLab programming, as well as an appreciation of the difficulties of fieldwork. I also greatly enjoyed the opportunity to explore Kenya and its cultures. This internship reaffirmed my interest in studying physics and geosciences, and I would strongly recommend this position to any student with similar interests.